The Madras High Court today directed the Tamil Nadu government to ensure that the differently-abled persons had an equal access to education and to include a topic on disabilities in the school curriculum from the next academic year. One L Muruganandam had filed a PIL, seeking proper facilities and an easy access for the differently-abled in all the educational institutions, buildings and campuses in Tamil Nadu, besides automated motorised wheelchairs for them, among others. He had also sought a direction to the state and central government authorities concerned in this regard. The First Bench, comprising Chief Justice Indira Banerjee and Justice M Sundar, said, "The state government shall ensure that the differently-abled have an equal access to education." "Admission in an educational institution shall be ensured in respect of the differently-abled, not only to the special educational institutions for them but also to some educational institutions for general students, so that the differently- abled children can mingle with and be brought up along with the general students," the bench said. It also observed that the state government should conduct awareness campaigns and sensitisation programmes for the protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in schools, colleges and professional institutions. This should be done immediately in consultation with the chief commissioner or state commissioner for differently-abled persons, in collaboration with the Tamil Nadu State Legal Services Authority and district legal services authorities, it said. The bench further said the programmes and campaigns should promote tolerance, empathy and respect for the differently-abled. It also directed that such orientation and sensitisation programmes be conducted for employers and administrators too. Posting the matter for further hearing to December 4, the bench directed the state government to file a status report on the implementation of the order.
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